The killing of George Floyd has sparked a movement of anti-racist protests across the United States and around the world. In light of this Black Lives Matter movement, Canadians have been discussing other forms of institutional racism across our nation. Archives are not disconnected from this issue. White privilege and structural oppression exist in archival institutions. The archive profession is predominantly white with visual minorities making up only 7% of archivists. The profession has largely prioritized white histories in their collection practices. As a result, many archives have gaps in their records that further marginalize racialized people from the dominant narrative. In addition to this, archives have historically used racist and problematic language in archival description.
These issues begin in the classroom. In many instances, Library and Information Studies (LIS) programs overlook how to manage materials that relate to racialized people. LIS syllabi rarely include readings from Black people or other people of colour. Also, these programs often lack anti-racist or anti-oppression frameworks. In order to dismantle white supremacy within the archival practice, it is imperative that archivists educate themselves on the experiences of people of colour and how to respectfully represent them in the records. Below are two resources I have found that relate to Black Lives Matter and archives.
The Association of Canadian Archivists compiled Resources on Archives, Anti-Racism, and Black Lives Matter. This list touches on the Black lived experience in Canada, the language in archival description, cultural competency, and race in archives. This includes a list of community archives with a focus on Black lives, police violence, and activism.
T-Kay Sangwand, who is a librarian at The University of California, Los Angeles, created a Black Excellence in LIS Syllabus. This was created to showcase Black creators who work in the Information profession or have a LIS degree. The Syllabus includes projects, speeches, publications, blog posts, and resources.
These resources touch on a broad range of topics. If you know of any other resources not included in these listed here, comment below.
The header image is “Marble Village Coloured School,” [ca. 1900] from Archives of Ontario. Reference Code: F 2076-16-5-2